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Every time Alice entered the hospital, she felt nauseous. She couldn’t stand the
odor, so characteristic of all hospitals. Besides, it was very difficult for her
to look at the hospital beds with white bedclothes and faded blankets, and at
the women and men with death sentences written on their faces. It was amazing
how much they all were alike…
She got in the lift, and dreamed to be back on the noisy street before the
building as soon as possible.
The fourth floor… The office of the head of the hospital ward… She knocked at
the door and walked into the room.
“My name is Alice Adams. I’d like to receive information about my father’s
“Well, you have surely noticed that your father is very weak these days,” the
doctor said almost routinely. “The chemotherapy we applied didn’t work. Now we
are giving him only analgesics not to allow him to be in pain. I’m sorry, but it
Alice thought that she was prepared to hear such words. She had been taking care
of her father for the last six months. She could see how the terminal disease
weakened him day after day.
She recalled that day when he had come to her after a long-term break. He seemed
lonely and helpless in the face of the illness.
The unexpected return surprised her. After he had begun a new relationship with
a new woman, he had stopped calling her and hadn’t felt any need to see her and
Yet, he had chosen just her, his daughter, when he had to ask for help. To tell
the truth, he even hadn’t asked her – it was unexpressed at least. Perhaps he
had thought that it was her clear duty to look after him – her sick father.
Alice had received him as if there had been no long separation between them.
They had been like a family for the several moths again, but she couldn’t still
get rid of the sorrow and regret in her heart – the past recollections were too
Alice needed some time to calm down herself on the hospital corridor – her
father shouldn’t see her in this state. Both patients and visitors on the
corridor took no notice of her. Such a sight, when someone is crying, was
nothing special on corridors of the hospital ward…
She entered the room where her father lay. He was sleeping, so she sat down on a
stool, close to his bed. She tried to think of some unimportant things not to
burst into tears.
After some time the man opened his eyes slowly and looked at his daughter.
“Alice, my child…” His voice was barely audible. “I couldn’t accept the truth
until now. But I feel the death is coming. This is the end, Alice. And don’t
deny it. I wasn’t a good father or a good grandpa, I know. If only I had some
time to fix everything… If only I could put back the time…” He fell asleep
Alice couldn’t hold back her tears. Her heart cried desperately. “It’s too late,
father. You won’t fix anything any more. You can’t put back the time to see me
as your little daughter or to see your grandchildren growing up. It’s too late…”
She was sobbing quietly. And she felt sorry for his father and for herself. Her
sorrow and regret mixed with the thought that fate was unfair to her… to both of
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